The US Forces and Resolute Support commander in Afghanistan Gen. Austin Scott Miller said in a interview with NBC News that “we're going on offense against the Taliban,” adding that a more aggressive posture was needed because of heavy casualties among Afghan forces.
He said that a more aggressive policy of helping the Afghan military track and defeat the Taliban — what he calls "regaining the tactical initiative" — but in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Tuesday, his first since taking command of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan he also says he recognizes that the solution in Afghanistan will be political, not military.
"This is not going to be won militarily," Miller said. "This is going to a political solution."
"My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily. So, if you realize you can't win militarily at some point, fighting is just, people start asking why. So, you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict."
Speaking from the Resolute Support headquarters building in Kabul, Miller said he knew early on that he needed to turn the tables on the Taliban and go after them.
"We are more in an offensive mindset and don't wait for the Taliban to come and hit [us]," he said. "So that was an adjustment that we made early on. We needed to because of the amount of casualties that were being absorbed."
Afghan Security Forces suffered 1,000 casualties in August and September, according to the Pentagon.
Miller has eliminated layers of approval for the troops advising the Afghans, giving them the authority to make decisions and move quickly around the battlefield as the need arises, and moving troops and equipment to areas where they can advise and empower the Afghan military and police in their fight against the Taliban.
These expeditionary advisory teams are intended to move to areas where they can join up with reliable partners, specific Afghan forces who the US and NATO leaders are confident have stronger capabilities and can take on the Taliban. The US advisers can bring overhead surveillance, fire support, and medevac capabilities with them.